Grimsby back in Football League after thrilling extra-time win

Solihull Moors v Grimsby Town – Vanarama National League – Play Off – Final – London Stadium
(Image credit: Tim Goode)

Jordan Maguire-Drew scored a late injury-time winner as Grimsby secured an immediate return to the English Football League with a dramatic play-off win over Solihull Moors.

Maguire-Drew capped a stunning Mariners turnaround when he touched in from close range in the 112th minute of a compelling Vanarama National League play-off final at the London Stadium on Sunday.

Solihull, who were only founded in 2007, had been on course to reach League Two after taking the lead through Kyle Hudlin late in the first half.

Yet Grimsby, who needed extra time to win their previous two play-off games against Notts County and Wrexham, dug deep again and levelled through John McAtee before Maguire-Drew snatched it late on.

Their winner came after a long throw-in from Jordan Cropper, who had caused confusion via that route from early on. Joe McDonnell needed to save after a throw took an awkward deflection off Hudlin in the opening minutes.

Solihull soon settled and went close as Callum Howe headed narrowly wide from a corner and Max Crocombe saved superbly from a deflected Andrew Dallas shot.

Grimsby were frustrated as they had two penalty appeals turned down. Cropper first went down under a challenge from Callum Maycock as he shaped to shoot and McAtee then appeared to be caught by Kyle Storer as he teed up Gavan Holohan.

Harry Clifton also spurned a great chance for the Mariners after being picked out by Erico Sousa at the far post.

Moors made the most of those reprieves to take the lead in first-half injury time.

Harry Boyes played a nice ball into the box and Joe Sbarra stood up a cross to the far post from a Dallas lay-off. Hudlin timed his leap perfectly and planted home a firm header.

Grimsby rallied after the break and Clifton almost diverted in a miscued Holohan shot before McAtee shot over.

The equaliser came with just over 20 minutes remaining after Solihull gave the ball away and Andy Smith played in McAtee with a fine long ball. McAtee kept his composure and finished calmly with a low shot across goal.

Solihull wanted a penalty after Dallas went down soon after the restart but nothing was given and McAtee almost snatched victory for Grimsby when he poked wide in the closing minutes of normal time.

The game remained stretched in extra time but the decisive blow came with eight minutes remaining when the unfortunate Dallas headed a Cropper throw into the path of Maguire-Drew and he tucked home.

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